Buying a second property is great for use as an investment, or even just as a holiday home for you and the family. You could even use it as both if you rent it out for part of the year and then stay in it yourself. Short term lets to tourists usually command a higher rent as well so you should be able to cover the mortgage on it fairly easily.
You do need to be careful though because buying property abroad comes with a whole set of unique challenges that you need to wrap your head around. Buying a house in the country that you’re living in is enough of a process, but imagine trying to do all of that without being able to meet with the real estate agent regularly or pop in for a quick viewing when it suited you. That means it’s a lot easier to make mistakes when you’re choosing the property so you’ve got to be extra careful. This isn’t going to be a small purchase and if you get it wrong, you won’t have another chance at it. Choosing the wrong property might leave you in a position where you’re paying a mortgage that you can’t cover because you can’t find anybody to stay there.
To help you make sure that doesn’t happen, here is a list of the most important things to consider before you buy a property abroad.
What Is It For?
This is the first question to ask yourself because it has a big impact on the type of property that you should buy. If you’re just buying it as a holiday home for yourself, you’ve got much more freedom. As long as you like the place, it’s fine, you don’t need to worry about anybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a long way from any local shops or restaurants as long as you don’t mind driving. But if you’re planning on renting it out, all of that stuff makes a huge difference. People aren’t going to stay in a holiday home for a week if they’re miles away from any of the attractions that they want to see. When you’re planning to rent it out, you need to get the location spot on, otherwise, you won’t find any tenants.
Old Or New?
Whether to buy an old or a new house is one of the biggest questions that real estate investors face. On the one hand, buying a new house means that you don’t have to put much time or money into renovating it and getting it ready for people to live in. However, buying an older house and doing it up yourself is going to cost you less money in the long run. There’s no right answer here but when you’re thinking about buying a place abroad, it’s worth going to a new property launch and having a look. The reason being, you won’t be able to go out there and do work on the house that easily. Going back and forth all the time is going to cost you a lot in travel so it’s usually better to get a new house that’s ready to move into right away.
Is It Easy To Get To?
Obviously, if you’re buying abroad you’re going to have to travel a lot but you should still limit yourself. If you’re going to be back and forth a lot trying to sort out tenants or decorate the place etc. you’re going to struggle if it’s an 18 hour flight every time. Flying halfway around the world is also going to cost you quite a lot of money and if you’re doing it regularly, it’ll soon add up. You’ll end up broke and constantly jet lagged so it’s probably worth finding somewhere a little closer to home.
Do You Know The Law?
The laws around owning property vary wildly between countries. If you’ve been working with an estate agent at home, they might be basing all of their decisions on that set of laws, not the set of laws in the country that you’re buying a property in. Any legal errors could land you in a huge amount of trouble and nobody is going to give you the benefit of the doubt because you’re from a different country. When you’re looking for an estate agent to work with, find one that has experience buying and selling properties in the country that you’re considering. That way, you can be sure that they know exactly what they’re doing. It’s also worth doing some research into the laws yourself to make extra sure that you’re doing everything above board.
Can You Speak The Language?
Traveling to another country and trying to deal with all of the hurdles involved in buying a property is hard enough. Trying to do that when you don’t really speak the language is going to be a nightmare. You don’t need to be fluent when you go out there but the chances are, even if they speak good English, the people that you’re dealing with won’t be able to discuss complex legal terms in a second language. You need to learn all of the necessary words and phrases that you’ll need when negotiating on price and some general conversation so you can get to know the locals a bit and ask about the area. If you don’t really understand what’s being said during negotiations, you could easily end up paying way over the odds for the property through sheer confusion. Before you go out there and start looking for properties, make an effort to learn some of the languages. If you’re really struggling, you might need to get a translator when you’re out there. Just remember, that’s another cost you’ll have to factor in.
Buying a second home in another country is a brilliant way to make some extra money, or just get a nice holiday home for you and your family. But always keep in mind that there are a lot of different hurdles to get over when you do.